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TV writer Robert White dies

Penned dramas, sitcoms, soaps

Television writer Robert A. White died of a heart attack on June 17 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 87.

His first writing job was in radio, graduating to television with “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show” and “The Real McCoys.” At first he was partnered with Ben Gershman; later he and wife Phyllis collaborated on shows such as “My Favorite Martian,” “Death Valley Days,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Medical Center” and “Ironside.”

They then turned to soaps, drawing a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1978 for “The Guiding Light” and winning WGA Awards in 1980 and 1985 for “The Guiding Light” and “Search for Tomorrow,” respectively.

Changing direction yet again, the couple moved into travel writing in the 1980s, including co-authoring books on San Francisco and Hollywood. (White still kept his hand in the TV biz, penning scripts for the animated series “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” and “She-Ra: Princess of Power” in the mid-’80s.)

From the ’90s until his death, White centered his efforts on writing plays. The musical “WR and Daisy,” for which the Whites penned the book and lyrics, premiered at Theater West in Hollywood in 2004.

White was born in Bakersfield, Calif. His parents, a band leader and a singer, toured constantly, and White attended a long succession of schools growing up. He joined the Merchant Marines during WWII and attended Los Angeles Community College on the G.I. bill.

Phyllis died in 2002.

He is survived by his third wife, Peggy O’Shea; a daughter; and a son.

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